Let’s see if we can get caught up this week, shall we? “For Services Rendered” is the first episode of The Strain that really starts to pull everything together and live up to its potential. The script, by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica, Defiance, Falling Skies), strikes a solid balance between the different contemporary narrative threads and the 1944 storyline. Plus we get a surprise guest appearance by Aaron Douglas as the doomed husband of superbitch lawyer vamp Joan Luss (Leslie Hope) in our opening moments. Meanwhile, Eph (Corey Stoll), Nora (Mía Maestro), and Abraham (David Bradley) realize, well, Abe does anyway, that killing the Master will kill all of his brood, so the plan is to find the creature’s human helpers and get to him that way. Which means Eph needs to make peace with Jim (Sean Astin). All they need now is to get Vasiliy (Kevin Durand) on-board and we’ll have the whole band together. Actually, if I have any real complaint about this episode, it’s that we get no Fet action. We’ll have to wait until next episode for that. Gus (Miguel Gómez) gets a little shorted this week, as he and Felix (Pedro Miguel Arce) get put in lockup with Felix not doing very well after getting wounded by a vamp last time out. Hopefully once the change is complete Gus won’t have bars to contend with. Honestly, I’m not sure why they decided to go this way with Gus’ story, other than that it keeps him out of play while we do some story cleanup with other characters. I have a feeling Gus will be getting some major attention soon enough. I just wish I could remember what happens in the books, so I might have some idea of what’s coming. That’s what I get for getting old. My memory’s shot. Back in 1944 Poland, we get a good bit of character work with young Abe (Jim Watson) and Eichhorst (Richard Sammel), as Abe is recruited to do a special woodworking project. Gómez and Sammel do a great job playing this twisted relationship, with Eichhorst’s reptilian detachment from normal human interactions providing a disturbing insight into his character. His eventual transcendence to vamp-hood is really just a natural extension of his human personality. Monster in, monster out, if you will. And that woodworking project? You guessed it. The Master’s coffin. There’s a powerful exchange between the two of them, where Eichhorst places a gun on the coffin within reach, daring Abraham to grab it. When Setrakian refuses to take the bait, Eichhorst belittles him for choosing safety over action. Which leads us to the modern day confrontation between the two. Using Jim as bait, our heroes try to spring a trap on Eichhorst in the subway, but that was never going to work. Instead, Setrakian is almost killed, the vamps know that Jim has switched sides (which means his wife is in mortal danger), but at least Eichhorst takes a silver bullet to the leg, prompting his retreat into the darkness of the subway tunnels with a sarcastic, “I give you another day of life, Jew, for services rendered.” As usual with the vampire movements, we’re “treated” to some CG enhancements that don’t really look that good. The practical effects work is solid, but whenever a monster starts using its “super speed” it just looks bad. I’m not sure what else they could do to make it feel more realistic, but I’m taken out of the moment every single time they do it. This is especially disappointing with the Master himself. When he’s actually on-screen he’s intimidating and his feeding tongue is disturbing enough, but once he zips away with his CG robes flapping it just looks awful. It’s going to be interesting once we actually get to see what the big bastard is hiding under his hood. But speaking of practical effects, this episode’s finale was the single best scene of the series so far as we are introduced to a character that I’m pretty sure didn’t show up until the second book (damn glitchy memory!). Back at the Luss household, Neeva (Kim Roberts), the nanny, has been forced to bring the kids home by her daughter Sebastiane (Shailene Garnett), because laws and stuff. This unfortunately turned into Mrs. Luss and friends trying to turn them into a buffet. Neeva, Sebastiane and the kids hold out for as long as they can, but then as Luss finally breaks through and is ready to drink them all, a metal stake is fired into her head, killing her. That’s when we are introduced to Quinlan, played under a layer of horrifying vampire-style makeup by the incomparable Stephen McHattie (seriously, if you haven’t seen Pontypool, just go watch it now). He’s accompanied by a group of masked henchmen in black who have cleared out the house of Strigoi. McHattie is perfect in this role. He’s frightening, but soothing and polite at the same time, making sure that everyone is okay. Of course, they’re not okay. Sebastiane has been nicked, so it’s a quick crossbow stake to the head for her, despite Neeva’s protests. It’s the most bad-ass moment in the series so far, and I immediate want more of Quinlan. A quick google search reminded me of the details of Quinlan’s origins, but I’ll leave that to you lot if you want to be spoiled. I’d recommend waiting and letting the show dole that info out for you. The Strain 1.07 “For Services Rendered”4.0Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.